Fallingstar Cadre: mercenary Tau

Sometimes it’s funny for me to look back over this blog.  Since I use it mainly to talk to myself and the internet about whatever gaming thoughts and plans occur to me, without censorship, I can sometimes see unconscious patterns emerging.  If I’m still doing this in another year, I might even have enough data to go back and make seasonal predictions about what I’ll do next!  But then I suppose I’d just do the opposite. And it’ll all be comfortably out-of-whack again.  The act of observing changes the thing observed after all.

So. I haven’t played Warhammer 40k for a long time, but it hasn’t gone away, strangely enough. Recently (and as always, with the help of my readers) I’ve come to terms with what it used to mean to me, and figured out what I want from the old beast going forwards.  I still think that it’s a clunky boring game to play and that taking it seriously in any way is not something I’m interested in.  So club play is out for a while.  But I am willing to own that once that’s settled… well maybe I was too hasty in dismissing the entire background setting as worthless and boring and declaring that I couldn’t find anything in it to interest me at all.

As it happens Von has come to the rescue, and his excellent recent posts documenting the building of Rogue Trader lists have inspired me.  I want to play some chilled out games against one of my old regular opponents, and try 7th edition on for size.  But I’m going to need reinforcements.  My old Imperial Guard army, the St. Arkham Rifles, have been betrayed and shattered (seeing as I er… sold half of them off).  So witness their rebirth as the Six of Swords: a company of disillusioned mercenaries who will fight for anyone that pays them: human, alien or other.

They will be supplemented by way of a project I’ve been wanting to do ever since 6th edition 40k: small bands of alien allied detachments.  At first I wanted to do Eldar, but yeah…I sold them too. Then I thought Orks.  They’re good fun right? But I played them all through 4th edition and into 5th.  I feel like I’ve done that.

You know who I’ve always wanted to have a go with though?  The Tau.  I never did because one of my other regular opponents was The Tau Guy, but he’s since moved away. And so my return to actually scrounging up 40k models comes in the shape of one of the newer factions.  I mean, *scoff* they were never even in Rogue Trader! Which is good, because you can’t go back and I’ve changed a lot over the years.  I like mechs and cyberpunk now, not so much the grim gothdark, and yes I know it’s taken me forever to notice.  But there you go.  So in a homage to Von’s narrative list-building (meaning I kind of stole his format), here is Hanzo, commander of the Fallingstar Cadre.

Hanzo, Commander Fallingstar

Hanzo was once a young and promising Fire Caste commander.  He was building a solid reputation for bold tactics and the ability to win out under dire circumstances; though it must be said that he showed a worrying tendency to seek out such fights.  Then came the disaster at the failed colony of [unnamed]: a Necron tomb erupted unexpectedly and the Tau settlers were exterminated, along with the Fire caste expedition dispatched to aid them.  Fighting his way to a damaged armoured carrier ship, Hanzo managed to leave the planet with a handful of Fire Caste and from there they drifted in space until a freak warp storm swallowed them whole.  The Tau ship was disgorged on the edges of Imperial space seconds later.  

Hanzo and his crew never speak of what happened on their warp journey, even to one another.  They survive now as mercenaries, fighting for any alien that pays and showing no interest in returning to the bosom of the Tau empire.  Other Tau who have met them report that something is gone from them: the light of the Greater Good has been extinguished.  Hanzo’s men whisper that he relies too much on the stimulants in his battle-suit, and that he is doomed. But their loyalty is beyond question.  After all, they have already followed him into Hell and out again.

Hanzo is equipped with an XV-8 Crisis suit.  He uses a plasma rifle and a missile pod (the latter will be modelled as a cannibalised Imperial autocannon), and has a couple of shield drones which I think will be fun to paint freehand pictures on.  His suit has stimulant injectors, a velocity tracker so he can take on flyers, and a failsafe detonator so that when he goes down, he does so in a blaze of glory.

The first thing I’m going to need though is a Hammerhead.  Just always wanted one.

Disclaimer: this might never happen.  I am fickle.   But it’s fun to write about.

15 thoughts on “Fallingstar Cadre: mercenary Tau

  1. The Warlock says:

    Hey James,

    I love the idea of merc xenos in 40k- in such a huge universe some kinda teamwork must take place. Hanzo sounds like he’s seen too many bonding rituals go wrong and has had too much *flips through 3rd ed codex* Ky’husa. It begs the question of whether Tau can have 5o’clock shadow 😛

    And you can fun with commander names!
    Shas’O Noh? Shas’O Rly? Shas’O mahgerd?

    Since 7th introduced unbound you could easily add different races as you saw fit – eldar? corsairs/wanderers/pirates. Orks? Freebootaz or Evil sunz (?). Humans? yeah, humans get everywhere.

    Hammerheads are ace! I have one (needs paint, >.> and magnets) but the options are cool either way- “Boom. Headshot” or “EATHOTPLASMA!!!”

    If you can, try and pick up the 3rd ed tau codex as it has paint schemes and those old flavourful stories. It goes a long way into words, symbols and such.

  2. kaptainvon says:


    It’s fine. I stole it from the old Ork proto-codexes anyway. Moving on: it’s nice to see you clamber down from the great high horse called absolutism and admit that there’s room for you to have some sort of fun in 40Kville. Even if all you ever end up doing is painting a gun-thieving mercenary Tau commander and a suitably ragged-arsed Hammerhead (those things look neat, especially the ion cannon version; the railgun’s a little bit too much like a giant lolly stick for my liking), you’ll have done something you like. And that is, after all, what counts, right?

    I like the implied Event Horizon style of narrative too. Tau may not have souls but being slurped into a hellish nothingscape is bound to leave them at least a bit harrowed. I presume he’s on the drugs to cope with what he’s seen, rather than because he’s SECRETLY TAKEN BY SLAANESH or anything.

    • beat ronin says:

      Ha ha, yeah it’s because he is harrowed. And a grizzled mercenary (is there any other kind?) Not Slaanesh, I swear. I’ve never been into Chaos myself, but I can see the appeal.

      Funny, I like the look of the railgun. It’s maybe a tad enormous, but this is 40k after all.

  3. Dragons_Claw says:

    That grim dark gets proper deep in to the blood stream doesn’t it 🙂

    Doesn’t seem to matter how much GW ducks with us or the fluff or makes hatefullly stoopid wolf drawn carriages some piece of art work short storey well painted model or just plain good 40k idea can drag us back in

    Parasitical I reckon or some ridiculously addictive substance impregnated into every sprue just to get some wild conspiracy theories into the mix 😉

    • beat ronin says:

      It does, it does. I think in my case I finally got out all my negative feelings about it and I think I can play again. Under controlled circumstances.

      • kaptainvon says:

        The only way it works, I think.

        There’s too much frowning and meta in the pick-up environment, after all. Leave that to Warmachordes, during play of which I’m resigned to frowning.

  4. sinsynn says:

    I apologize fer missing this, dude. It’s strange cuz yer posts show up in my SinSynn email, so I never really miss one.
    And I do so love yer style. I never fail to smile at yer somewhat self-conscious approach.
    You go ahead and change yer name a hundred times, edit yer comments, do whatever…
    I never fail to enjoy yer wackiness.
    So my bad on missing this one.

    I like where yer going with this.
    I’m only -slightly- jelly ’bout yer background piece.
    You know I’m totally gonna hafta do sumpthin’ similar, right?

    • beat ronin says:

      No worries brother, it’s amazing any us manage to read as much as we do as well as writing I think. I always see Von’s because he’s also WordPress and it’s easy to put in my reader. And I check the House every day. But I’ve only just figured out how to subscribe to Warlock on Blogger. Let’s hope it works; relying on checking every now and then just means missing too much good stuff.

      You’ll have to give me some Tau advice. Don’t get punched is the gist of it, right?

      • sinsynn says:

        Nowadays, yeah!!
        As cool as the Riptide is- and I think it’s cooler looking than the imperial knight, but I’m such a big anime geek that’s to be expected- try not to buy 3 of ’em.
        The Tau have a bunch of special rules that vex people, like their ‘supporting fire’ thing. It’s basically overwatch, but every Tau unit within a certain distance of the unit being assaulted can chip in.
        Non- Tau players are not feeling that one. Lolz.

        The Tau took a nerf in 7th by no longer being battle brothers with Eldar, so it’s not as bad as it was. But since firepower/number of shots/ability to kill things at range and access to AP 1 and 2 are king now, and assault is a risky venture at best, the Tau are now a top tier army. Better than Beakies. By…not a huge margin, but enough.
        Since Beakies were the bestest for quite a few years, and theres a LOT of somewhat resentful Beakie players out there, you should expect some unhappy campers across the table from you.
        Especially if you sieze, and wipe out a big chunk of their army turn one. Tau eat transports, and Crisis Suites en mass chew up Beakies…and ever since their introduction, imperial players still riff about strength 5 pulse rifles.
        I would totally be building Tau again if the Codex wasn’t so damned good. Fer realz.

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